Around a hundred workers of Shivam Autotech Ltd., an automobile firm in Binola village here, staying in different parts of the city walked around 30 km to work on Monday morning, after the company refused to provide them transport citing financial constraints.
More than a week after the company had resumed operations with a limited workforce on May 11, the management directed all the workers, including the contractual staff, to report to work on May 18, but expressed its inability to provide transport because of financial constraints.
The firm’s Human Resource Deputy General Manager Anshuman Sharma said in view of the social distancing norms four times the number of buses were required than earlier, and the company could not afford it. He said the company was incurring losses for the past four years and this had been communicated to the union leaders. Mr. Sharma alleged the majority of the workers had personal conveyance, but the union had provoked them to walk to work to put pressure on the management for conveyance.
Mukesh Kumar Yadav, the former general-secretary of S.A.T.L. Employees Union in the company, said those staying in the nearby areas had been going for work for the past over a week, but the company directed all to report to work on Monday. He said the company provided official vehicles for transportation to the factory before the lockdown, but now withdrew the facility and asked the workers to make their own arrangements. Mr. Yadav alleged that the company had not paid wages for the lockdown so far and things were even more difficult for the contractual staff, who were paid far less compared with the regular staff.
He said city buses and auto-rickshaws were not plying due to lockdown, and therefore, the workers were not left with any choice but to walk to work. Mukesh claimed the workers from Rewari and Bhiwadi also walked to work in hordes. “Once we reach the company, we will make some arrangements to stay in the nearby areas. It is not possible to walk 60 km every day to and from factory,” he added.